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Old 25.07.2012, 11:54
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Cows attack a hiker

Seen this in thelocal:
http://www.thelocal.ch/page/view/cow...-alpine-meadow

Personally, I've never had a problem with cows. Big, dumb-but-curious animals, bred for docility. Even the grumpy Highland ones.

Though it should be noted, I don't make eye contact with them, and don't do anything to alarm them and make a point of not doing anything unexpected. I do avoid the ones with calves, or with bulls in situ.

I did have to "politely" (?) slap the backside of one once, because she was blocking the path, but that's about as close and confrontational as I get.

One reason to avoid cows though is the ticks that follow them. Some ticks can be quite nasty.

However, my wife fears them, for reasons I cannot corrolate with my own experiences.

What are the experiences here?
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Old 25.07.2012, 12:12
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Re: Cows attack a hiker

This is extremely rare. I've frequently hiked through cow fields and they generally just ignore you. Maybe keep away from young calves, but otherwise cows are pretty friendly. The biggest danger when walking through cow fields is keeping your feet out of cow-poo, particularly when fresh.
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Old 25.07.2012, 12:22
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Re: Cows attack a hiker

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This is extremely rare. I've frequently hiked through cow fields and they generally just ignore you. Maybe keep away from young calves, but otherwise cows are pretty friendly. The biggest danger when walking through cow fields is keeping your feet out of cow-poo, particularly when fresh.
..or mistaking the "watery ones" for puddles...not nice when MTB'ing...
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Old 25.07.2012, 12:30
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Re: Cows attack a hiker

Cows can certainly get uppity. An old post of mine on the matter:

Crazy cows attack Alpine hikers
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Old 25.07.2012, 12:33
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Re: Cows attack a hiker

It's not that rare. Quite common with mother cows or young bulls. If you know, you will be walking through a cow field, take a stick with you. If a cow runs towards you, run towards it and scream, give it a slap on the bum with a stick and it will stop.
Got that tip from a farmer, so it should work. Cows are submissive if you show them who the boss is.
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Old 25.07.2012, 12:38
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Re: Cows attack a hiker

I've been attacked twice by cows, although I never was fearful of them. they in fact attacked my dog, on the leash. Both time it was Friesians, and both times in the UK, on a proper footpath. Unfortunately, unlike in CH, the fields were fenced by 10cmx10cm square wire fencing, dug into the ground and topped by 2 strands of barbed wire. On both occasions I had to let the dog loose, somehow get over the gate, shredding my trousers and my thighs- and on both occasions, after having to make a huge detour to get back to the entrance to the field and my car - found the dog cowering under the fence, terrified but unharmed. On both occasions the cows were in an adjacent field as I entered the footpath, with a fence that looked closed but was in fact not secured. Cows can be very dangerous if you have a large dog with you. On both ocasions I faced them, and put my arms up and talked the farmers' talk- but they came running right at me. No bull, and no babies - they were heffers (yeah heffing cows!).

Last edited by Odile; 25.07.2012 at 20:07.
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Old 25.07.2012, 12:41
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Re: Cows attack a hiker

I'm going to forward this link to the OH - he made so much fun of me last weekend, laughing all the way down the mountain (we were near Zermatt), because at the sight of cows I significantly increased my "downhill hiking speed"

My response was "better not find out". Now I have...ehm..."scientific backup"
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Old 25.07.2012, 12:43
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Re: Cows attack a hiker

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I've been attacked twice by cows, although I never was fearful of them. they in fact attacked my dog, on the leash. Both time it was Friesians, and both times in the UK, on a proper footpath. Unfortunately, unlike in CH, the fields were fenced by 10cmx10cm square wire fencing, dug into the ground and topped by 2 strands of barbed wire. On both occasions I had to let the dog loose, somehow get over the fence, shredding my trousers and my thighs- and on both occasions, after having to make a huge detour to get back to the entrance to the field and my car - found the dog cowering under the fence, terrified but unharmed. On both occasions the cows were in an adjacent field as I entered the footpath, with a fence that looked closed but was in fact not secured. Cows can be very dangerous if you have a large dog with you. On both ocasions I faced them, and put my arms up and talked the farmers' talk- but they came running right at me. No bull, and no babies - they were heffers (yeah heffing cows!).
You did the right thing by letting the dog go, it is the dog usually which upsets the cows. This takes the attention away from you, and there is every chance that the dog can run away safely.
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Old 25.07.2012, 12:45
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Re: Cows attack a hiker

When taking a friend of the family on a walk through a cow pasture, he thought it'd be funny to make some moo-ing noises, which resulted in 30-odd large heifers charging us. Since I was close to a fence I just hopped over, but I've also heard the suggestion to brandish your stick and shout at them. I wouldn't do that with bulls, though, or with mothers who already suspect you're endangering the calves.
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Old 25.07.2012, 12:50
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Re: Cows attack a hiker

My mum was attacked by a small herd of cows some years ago in Hampshire whilst walking the dog. The dog was on the lead, but there were calves present, so she presumed they were protecting them. She was quite badly injured with a nasty gash on her lower leg.
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Old 25.07.2012, 14:00
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Re: Cows attack a hiker

The article linked to in the OP also mentions that they had a dog with them.
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Old 25.07.2012, 17:07
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Re: Cows attack a hiker

A long time ago I used to survey woodlands for a living. One day I was crossing a field, between two woods, which was full of heifers. One of them spotted me, and got a bit curious.
He must of told his mates (all 30 of them) because they all started to walk towards me. One of them started to run, and you can imagine what happened next......they ALL started to run.

I have never been so frightened in my life....it wasn't so much the sight of them, though that was bad enough, but the noise they made running at me full pelt. To make matters worse I was on my own that day, and had visions of being found days later in a mangled heap in the field.

Anyway....for want of a better thing to do I ran at them, screaming (not a pretty sight!) and waving my clipboard. Thankfully the sight of this banshee was enough to make them wheel round and make a run in the other direction.

Since then I have avoided walking through any fields with cattle in them...better safe than sorry.
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Old 25.07.2012, 17:28
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Re: Cows attack a hiker

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The article linked to in the OP also mentions that they had a dog with them.
Another article in Le Matin said there was a sign warning that cows had calves and not to go near with dogs. One of the women didn't want to go into the field, the other one insisted. They then took a short cut away from the path, right past the cows. When the cows surrounded them, the one lady let her dog go and advised the other one to do the same, but she refused. Not a good idea
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Old 25.07.2012, 17:33
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Re: Cows attack a hiker

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A long time ago I used to survey woodlands for a living. One day I was crossing a field, between two woods, which was full of heifers. One of them spotted me, and got a bit curious.
He must of told his mates (all 30 of them) because they all started to walk towards me. One of them started to run, and you can imagine what happened next......they ALL started to run.
Heifers are female btw. Chances are you probably came in the same gate, at around the same time the farmer usually does with their hay. They're not that great at human facial recognition.

If it was a field of bulls, I'd have legged it too...
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Old 25.07.2012, 17:35
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Re: Cows attack a hiker

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Another article in Le Matin said there was a sign warning that cows had calves and not to go near with dogs. One of the women didn't want to go into the field, the other one insisted. They then took a short cut away from the path, right past the cows. When the cows surrounded them, the one lady let her dog go and advised the other one to do the same, but she refused. Not a good idea
Cows instinctively fear dogs/wolves, for reasons that should be obvious. More so when calves are around.
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Old 25.07.2012, 17:56
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Re: Cows attack a hiker

Having seen numerous times how fellow hikers act around cows I am not surprised at all. In the above case I blame the hiker and not the cow.
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Old 25.07.2012, 18:45
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Re: Cows attack a hiker

I was once attacked by a cow.

I had to run to the udder side of the field from the litte heiffer.

I wasn't amooosed. I've no idea what its beef was. It was veally scary.
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Old 25.07.2012, 19:47
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Re: Cows attack a hiker

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I was once attacked by a cow.

I had to run to the udder side of the field from the litte heiffer.

I wasn't amooosed. I've no idea what its beef was. It was veally scary.
B+ for effort, but the quality in those puns was a little rare.
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Old 25.07.2012, 20:03
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Re: Cows attack a hiker

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B+ for effort, but the quality in those puns was a little rare.
I couldn't have dung any better, I think he deserves a pat on the back.

Back on topic... the Swiss Alpine Club's official accident statistics show five cases of hikers being attacked and injured by cows in 2011. This of course doesn't include all the cases of people being charged by cows but not getting hurt.

Last edited by stephen_NE; 25.07.2012 at 20:10. Reason: added clarification to statistic
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Old 25.07.2012, 20:20
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Re: Cows attack a hiker

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I couldn't have dung any better, I think he deserves a pat on the back.
I am not so sure, I thought he really minced the words.
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